Don’t you just love crusty breaded chicken encompassed in tomato sauce and topped with melted cheese? Yeah, me too. Which is why I like chicken parmesan so much. And the best part is, this chicken is baked, not fried! So you don’t have to feel guilty about making it: only a little bit of oil is used, just enough to grease the pan and keep the chicken from burning to ashes.
Ok, so maybe it wouldn’t burn to ashes in half an hour, but prevention is key.
I used my dad’s “recipe” for tomato sauce. I say “recipe” because his recipe isn’t written down; he basically told me “saute some onions, garlic, and any veggies we have; add in the tomatoes and cook”. So that’s what I did (but don’t worry, I’ll give you a more formal recipe than that)
To make the tomato sauce, cut up the veggies and then saute them for a few minutes on oil (any oil works)
After adding in the crushed and/or fresh tomatoes, the spices go in next. Nothing really exotic about them, except for the black pepper. It’s in that really cool grinder in the center. We got it from my grandparents’ in Serbia–that is, the grinder, not the pepper. I love using it, which is why many of the dinners I make are too peppery. But it makes me feel like I know what I’m doing. Even when I don’t have a clue–but, hey! I’ll add in some pepper to make people choke on the food so they can’t criticize it! Brilliant, I know.
With that said, cook the sauce for at least an hour (until the sauce has the consistency of spaghetti sauce)
Cut up the chicken into thin slices (I cut these pieces in half horizontally). You’ll need three bowls: one with flour, salt, and pepper; another with the breadcrumbs and spices; and a third with lightly beaten eggs.
First dust the chicken with flour. Dip it in the eggs and then coat with the breadcrumbs. Place in a lightly greased pan. Repeat for all of the chicken slices.
Drizzle olive oil on top of the chicken and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. And then turn around…
and see this mess and realize you only have 20 minutes to clean it up and sanitize it of salmonella. Work hard. I know you can do it!
After 20 minutes (and cleaning up), pour the tomato sauce over the chicken and top with mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. Place a sprig of rosemary on top if your heart (and tastebuds) so desire. Bake until the cheeses melt and become lightly brown (about 10 minutes).
(Oh, and that’s my eager-to-eat little brother in the kinda-blurred-upper-right-corner of the picture)
Enjoy with your favorite pasta or bread!
Crusty breaded chicken encompassed in tomato sauce and topped with melted cheeses! And the best part is, this chicken is baked, not fried! So you don't have to feel guilty about making it: just enough oil is used to grease the pan and keep the chicken moist! Enjoy!
For the Tomato Sauce
- 2 medium-small onions (or 1 large onion), chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 carrots, peeled and sliced into quarter-moon slices
- 1/2 a bell pepper (or a whole)
- 1 celery stick
- 28 oz canned crushed tomatoes
- 28 oz fresh tomatoes (peeled and sliced)
- 2 tbsp oil
- 2 bay leaves
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 tbsp coriander
- 1 tbsp basil
- 1 tsp oregano
- a dash of turmeric
- pinch of sugar
For the Chicken
- *2 1/2 lb skinless,boneless chicken breasts
- 1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
- 2 sprigs rosemary, washed
- 1 tbsp thyme
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 cup flour
- 2 eggs
- olive oil, for drizzling on chicken
- salt and pepper, to taste
- mozzarella cheese, grated or thinly sliced
- grated parmesan cheese
- spaghetti or bread, for serving with
To make the Tomato Sauce...
- saute the vegetables on the oil for a few minutes.
- Add the bay leaves and saute for 10 minutes on medium heat.
- Add in the tomatoes, salt, pepper, coriander, basil, oregano, turmeric, and sugar. Cook on medium-low heat until the sauce has the consistency of spaghetti sauce (1-3 hours)
To prepare the Chicken...
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- In a bowl combine the breadcrumbs, 1 sprig of rosemary (remove the leaves from the stem, discard stem, and mince the leaves), thyme, and parmesan cheese.
- In another bowl lightly beat the eggs.
- In a third bowl combine the flour, salt, and pepper.
- Toss the chicken in the flour mixture; then dip into the eggs. Next, coat with the breadcrumb mixture before placing in a lightly greased pan. Repeat for all of the chicken slices.
- Drizzle olive oil over the chicken; bake at 350F for 20 minutes.
Put it all together!
- When the chicken is baked, take it out of the oven and adjust the oven temperature to 500F.
- Pour the tomato sauce evenly all over the chicken. Top with the mozzarella and parmesan cheeses and add the second sprig of rosemary on top (optional).
- Bake until the cheeses melt and are lightly browned (10-15 minutes). Serve with pasta or bread.
*You can easily half the chicken if you're not feeding a crowd; just adjust the amount of breadcrumbs, eggs, and flour accordingly.
Recipe for chicken adapted from No Recipes